A few days ago I went to a friends house for dinner. Gathered were an amazing group of women, all single. Sadly, a couple of my dear friends are also going through a divorce and though I wish we could be bonding under different circumstances, I am so grateful we are going through this together. After an evening of drinking, cooking, eating together and sharing stories (mostly about men) the conversation turned to dating. Whenever we talk of dating, it is inevitable the laptop appears for a Match.com visit. Hearing and watching their very detailed examination of male by male, I couldn’t help but start making a list. Every woman has her story, so many have horrible stories of abuse and deception and infidelity, and yet, here we were looking for men! One friend in particular is amazing, we call her our Elizabeth Taylor! Her heart has been broken so many times, and yet she is the most positive of the group! Her motto, “no worries, mate.”
The search for companionship and love is such a powerful force. Why can’t a state of singleness be enough? I know the reason, but still… This is what I have learned from my wonderfully wise and hopeful friends.
- Never abuse your ex to woo your next. This is very bad form and extremely tacky. If the person is so horrible, why were you with them? Focus on the good qualities. And if your ex and next become friends, then that reflects very poorly on you! If there is a child involved and things develop with your next, you have just clouded that person’s judgement. If your next becomes your Mr/Mrs, s/he will have to interact with ex in matters that involve the child. And simply, if your ex is still such a reference point, maybe you shouldn’t be dating, you’re not ready. One of my friends never discusses exS with nextS, a new relationship is a new beginning. Leave all the garbage behind.
- SPECIAL NOTE: ex bashing to bond with next is juvenile, ridiculous, unworthy, a very poor base for building a relationship and reflects extremely poorly on both parties. Don’t do it!
- Infidelity sucks. If you are not happy, take courage and leave your relationship. Falling out of love is a tragic, but natural, occurrence, but having an affair is horribly damaging to everyone involved. Waiting to meet a new person to leave your relationship offers a temporary solution. You will have to deal with the break-up and, believe me, it is best if there is not a third party involved.
- Time, time, time. It’s true, time heals all wounds. Even just a few months ago, I couldn’t imagine getting over the events that lead to the demise of my marriage. Yet, my exS next has not surfaced even the smallest twinge of jealousy. Wow! It wasn’t until her arrival that I realized I’m completely over it! Hurrah! Also, not rushing into a relationship has given me the time to really think about what I want and need and get my life back together. Give yourself the time and space to figure out what it is you want and learn to be on your own. Please, don’t fall for the first person that walks in the door. Though single, I do have a daughter, and whomever enters my life will enter hers as well.
- Finally, with children, the best case scenario is for the child to have regular contact with both parents. Though I don’t believe in staying together for the sake of the child, I do believe in co-parenting and the beauty of the extended family. This means that the next and the ex must, at the very least, be on some sort of amicable terms. If the parents can get past their pain and the failure of their relationship and still remain friends, this is a great sign of character and personality. This should be celebrated and not scorned. Plus, it just makes everything a hell of a lot easier!
Can anyone ever really be ready, ready to open oneself all over again? It seems like the older I get (!) and the more my life is falling in to place, the harder it is to imagine fitting someone in. My daughter and I have such a fabulous groove and, miraculously, I am being the most productive I’ve ever been. I guess it all comes down to finding the “right person.” It is a frightening prospect but, ultimately, worth the risk and effort?